From Amateur to Professional
For many years I was an amateur photographer. My friends knew that so one day, one of them asked me to photograph her wedding. On the wedding day everything was different from what I was used to do as an amateur. All of a sudden there was a huge responsibility to get the images right: to not over or under-expose, to get the right moments, to actually know what I was doing! It didn’t matter whether I felt creative that day or if I had a problem with my little gear (and no backups). I soon realised that a “good picture” had to help telling the story and that good pictures without a story-telling component aren’t nearly as valuable. Once I got home there was no efficient workflow to deal with the backups, culling and editing. It took me forever to deliver those images and I was not proud of them. Seven years went by since that first wedding.
A photograph I took on my first wedding as a photographer
Art vs Business
At some point I decided to become a professional. Have my own business. I now had to grow my knowledge on how to take better pictures of social events but more importantly, I had to make my business grow if I were to live off of this. I’d have to get in touch with clients, get my work out there, develop an efficient workflow and have a plan B in case my gear stopped working.
How would I build my company? What did I value in other companies that I would like to include on my own? That was easy, I’ve always found a good customer service to be paramount so that would be on top of my list. Replying to queries as soon as possible, keeping schedules, always be polite, that was a must. But I wanted to do beyond that and offer a more personal experience, tailored to each specific client. In this day and age when each wedding is so authentic I want to follow suit and have my photographs as unique as the celebration that’s taking place.
Equally as important was to find my path that would lead my to a style I identify with, so it had to be genuine and timeless. After a lot of trial and error and attending many workshops in Portugal and abroad with the lead wedding photographers in the world, I ended up developing my current style, with which I’m proud of.
Each wedding is unique, therefore Reportage!
Over the last few years the wedding industry changed dramatically and the rate of change seems to be increasing. Couples are increasingly wanting to design their wedding according to their own preferences and not because tradition states how it should be done. Now, more than ever, I find it essencial to choose the wedding photographer that will preserve the memories of your special, beautiful wedding day in a way that you’ll be proud of.
This is where I believe that photojournalism is essential. There are no “fashions” in it, because there is no creative process that gives rise to stylized photographs, readily copied by other photographers to the point of weariness. A few years later you’ll look these posed/made photographs and think they seem “so 2016”. Photojournalism captures life as it happens, as if the photographer did not exist. True moments, smiles and tears do not go out of fashion – precisely because they are real!
Finally, it is very important for me to know the couple well – from the history to what unites them to their closest relatives and the way they show their love for each other. I want to know which elements I should pay more attention to throughout the day, to photograph the history of the couple in their own image and not what I would guess is important.
You can check my blog, where you’ll find some Real Weddings